Initial Assessment Policy

York Learning
Author: Will Harris
Date of Publication: 1 September 2016
Revised 14 September 2023
Next date of review August 2024
  1. Policy

York Learning is committed to accurately identifying what each learner needs to learn and to find out what the barriers to full engagement and successful progression may be, in order to put in place appropriate support from the start of the learning programme.

Through our initial assessment process we gather a range of information about each learner to ensure that they are following the most appropriate learning programme to achieve their goals.  These include:

  • The learner’s attitude and commitment to the learning process.
  • The learner’s career goals and aspirations
  • What the learner has previously learnt and achieved (prior qualifications, achievements, and learning experience)
  • The learner’s relevant abilities, interests and skills including maths, English and ICT skills.
  • Learning needs and any learning difficulties
  • Any other personal circumstances that may affect learning.


  1. Implementation

When conducting initial assessment, staff ensure that:

  • Learners are fully involved in the initial assessment process.
  • Learners understand the benefits of what they are being asked to do and how the information will be used.
  • Initial assessment methods are appropriate to the learner’s needs.
  • Tests are available on paper and on-screen (if the exam board allows) and are administered fairly and consistently by trained and qualified staff.
  • The purpose of each method is explained to the learner.
  • Assessment methods are monitored to ensure that they are effective and they do not discriminate against certain groups of learners.

Special consideration is given to learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.

  • Outcomes of initial assessment are shared with the learner immediately, included on the learner profile and used when developing the learner individual learning plan. The results are stored on our tracking documents and accessible to the relevant course teams.
  • If a learner is not suitable for their desired course, constructive feedback is given in a positive and encouraging way and alternative recommendations and/or referrals are made.
  • Tutors are trained on understanding and using initial assessments tools and results to inform their teaching and learning plans.
  • Tools used for initial assessment are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.
  • Curriculum managers regularly review achievement on qualifications and review entry requirements accordingly.


  1. Results of Initial Assessment are used to:

  • Ensure learners receive appropriate and timely support for English, maths, ICT, dyslexia etc.
  • Ensure all learners support needs are met through diverse teaching and learning strategies.
  • Signposting of learners to alternative learning if preferred course is not suitable.
  • Further IAG and employment support.


  1. Initial Assessment of Vocational Skills

Vocational staff may use the following methods of assessment to ascertain whether applicants are suitably prepared and qualified for the programme.

  • Self assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Observed activities as part of the interview process
  • Oral questions during the interview process
  • Witness statements
  • Vocational tasters or projects
  • Levels of current English, maths and ICT.


  1. Initial Assessment of Personal and Social Development Needs

  • Discussions with the learner and their family/guardian (if under 18 or a vulnerable adult).
  • Self assessment tools
  • Observation of the learner in activities to assess personal and social skills.
  • School profile and discussion with staff.
  • Connexions and careers information.
  • Assessment and intervention for emotional literacy.
  • Any other appropriate methods.


  1. Summary

The main purpose of this policy is to ensure that learners are enrolled on to programmes of learning where they are given the appropriate tools and support to succeed.  Initial assessment enables teaching staff to make informed decisions at enrolment, learning support to be accurately targeted and allocated, learning programmes to be designed to meet learner needs, set realistic targets and put learners on the right track to succeed on programme.

The software used currently for initial assessment and diagnostic testing where appropriate is BKSB.   Teaching teams use this data to set up the diagnostic assessment level.

Diagnostic testing is undertaken with all learners who are undertaking significant learning hours on accredited programmes.